For some reason, I can’t think of any way of doing that for The Tall Man, but read the review anyway.
In the sleepy mountain town of Cold Rock, there is a legend that has taken on a frightening reality. The story of the “Tall Man”, an entity that steals the towns children, has been growing and growing as more and more of the children in the town disappear.
Local nurse Julia Denning (Jessica Biel) doesn’t believe in the legend of the “Tall Man”, however that is all to change when her own child is abducted. Now, Julia has to find out the truth behind the children vanishing – but not all is as it seems and there is much more to the story of the “Tall Man” than the town of Cold Rock could ever have believed.
Expecting a supernatural horror about some mysterious bogeyman, I have to admit to being very surprised by The Tall Man, as it isn’t a horror in that way at all – although it does deal with some horrific subject matter (let’s be fair, most parents nightmares involve their children in some way, shape or form!), it isn’t a traditional horror in that respect at all.
But that shouldn’t be taken as a negative, as it really isn’t, as instead of the supposed supernatural horror that the film has been marketed as, instead I got treated to an intelligent and disturbing thriller that has lingered in my mind for quite a while after finishing it.
Jessica Biel, who I’ll be honest and admit hasn’t really blown me away in anything that she has starred in before, is an absolute revelation here. Honestly, I have never seen her so good in a role before, and if she doesn’t follow this with some more impressive work then it will be a real shame. She really is that good here, and in all aspects of the role she is believable & totally convincing.
She isn’t the only actor in the film of course, but she is the main character and the central heart of the film – and I’ll be honest and say that if I go into huge details about the other characters I might give away something about the film that would be better to be discovered as you watch rather than have spoiled in a review!
All I’ll say is that the other actors are also all very believable, and it’s always nice to see William B. Davis (The X-Files very own Cigarette Smoking Man) in a film.
Director and writer Pascal Laugier, in what is his first English language film, proves that he is an adept director, able to drag an audience into a film & hold their attention throughout and also chill them to the bone. His writing is excellent, as is the direction of the actors. It’s also nice to see a horror director who can push the audience one way before dragging them another without making it totally obvious as to what is going on.
Normally I am quite good at guessing the outcome of these films, sometimes quite quickly, but I will freely admit that The Tall Man had me guessing and wondering all the way to the end.
Likewise, the cinematography showing off the mountainous and gorgeous countryside of the Kootenay region of British Columbia, which looks absolutely fantastic. Laugier has a great eye for detail, and it is fully represented here.
Audio And Video
The gorgeous cinematography by director Pascal Laugier is really benefited by the flawless HD transfer on the Blu-Ray. The bleak, beautiful mountain countryside is presented in fabulous detail and the colours, while dulled to a certain degree, add to the atmosphere. Likewise the very present blacks, as a lot of the film takes place in the dark or at night, are displayed wonderfully, with the shadow never going too dark to see what is going on.
The audio track is used effectively to build the atmosphere as well, and thankfully it doesn’t fall into the age old trap of using the soundtrack to shock the audience. It’s not a soundtrack that will give your surround sound system a full workout, but it is still a well presented track.
If you go into The Tall Man expecting a gory horror then you are going to leave disappointed. It would be much fairer to the film to describe it as a dark thriller, as that it much closer to the truth. And taken like that, it is a very good film.
There are some great performances & a tight storyline so if you are in the mood for a film that will possibly disturb your dreams a little, and stay in your mind without trying to gross you out with blood and gore, then this is most definitely a good choice.